Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. told The Associated Press in a phone interview Sunday he felt his sermon was appropriate at Franklin’s funeral Friday in Detroit. He felt his timing was right, especially after other speakers spoke on the civil rights movement and President Donald Trump.

He was duly criticised by the black community nevertheless. In his defense; “I think Stevie Wonder did not understand what I said,” Williams said. “I said blacks do not matter, because black lives cannot matter, will not matter, should not matter, must not matter until black people begin to respect their own lives. Then and only then will black lives matter. That’s what I said, and again, and again, and again. We need to have respect for each other. Once we start doing that, then we can begin to change”